So the Buffalo Bills are boring enough to watch during the regular season, let alone games that don’t count in the standings. We get that. If you watched the opener last Friday in Washington, I can’t blame your hesitance to turn on the television Thursday evening to watch them face the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, to make matters worse the game is in Toronto, which hasn’t exactly proven to be a NFL hot spot since the Bills reached a five-year agreement to host games there.
And yes, the opener last week was eerily similar to the product that occupied your Sundays in 2009.
But still, if you’re searching for reasons to tune in Thursday (if you’re a true Bills fan, you shouldn’t need a reason); here are five things to occupy your focus while the game is on.
Brian Brohm’s One Real Shot
Trent Edwards is going to get the start again against the Colts. Last week in the opener it was Ryan Fitzpatrick in the rotation once Edwards (mercifully that night) was out. This time it’s Brohm and it literally could be make-or-break for him. If Brohm has a big night it is sure to open Chan Gailey’s eyes in the quarterback competition he claims is still open. But a few bad drives and it could be lights out on his chance of earning a backup job let alone a starting gig. In fact, we’ve been projecting since before the start of training camp that if Brohm can’t be out Edwards he’s likely to find himself unemployed. Fitzpatrick has the experience and mentality to be a better backup, largely because he’s come to embrace the role. If Gailey decides to only keep two quarterbacks and/or have Levi Brown on the practice squad, this game could be the only real shot Brohm gets.
The Interior Line Backup Battle Continues
You wouldn’t think that backup positions would be critical to a roster. But this is Buffalo, where injuries are more common than New York State budget cut. In these parts of the NFL, our backups usually become starters. Andre Ramsey and undrafted Cordaro Howard have quite the battle brewing for the right to back up starting guards Andy Levitre and Eric Wood. One will probably make the active roster, assuming Gailey keeps around journeyman backup Kirk Chambers. Thus far it appears Howard has the advantage. Forget the fact he’s a former Gailey recruit at Georgia Tech; Howard’s had a strong camp and held his own against the Redskins starters last week in the preseason opener.
Wood, Demetrius Bell, Cornell Green, Paul Posluszny and Chris Kelsay all missed the Washington opener. They’re expected to see snaps against the Colts. Assuming the three linemen go, it’ll be our first look at the starting unit alongside Levitre and Geoff Hangartner. On the defensive side, it’s worth seeing what progress, if any, Kelsay has made switching over from defensive end to linebacker in the Bills’ new 3-4 look.
Is John McCargo For Real?
At least in this reporter’s eyes, one of the lone bright spots in the Washington debacle was the play of John McCargo. He’s had a strong training camp and while it remains unseen if it’s the new coaching staff, a different schematic defense or the fact he was facing Redskin second and third stringers, but McCargo looked like anything but the colossal bust he’s been since Marv Levy traded up in the first round to grab him in 2006. Headed into the summer it seemed like a foregone conclusion McCargo’s time in Buffalo had ended, and it still may, but if he has a repeat performance against the Colts it has to weigh in heavily on defensive coordinator George Edwards come roster decision time.
C.J. The Starter
With Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch both out with injuries, C.J. Spiller will be in the backfield on the opening offensive snap. It’s worth seeing if Gailey can find ways to implement into the offense, sans Trent Edwards dumping the ball off to him at the first sign of pressure. While Gailey is sure to not give any Spiller tricks away in the preseason, a highlight reel play like the numerous he piled up at Clemson would reenergize this fan base; something that has been clearly lacking since the start of camp.
(Photo: Michael Thomas)